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Deepshikha Dharmaraj, Chief Executive Officer, Genesis BCW
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Challenging times need purpose-led creativity

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  • In today's challenging environment, how do you deliver an impactful campaigns? Answers Deepshikha Dharmaraj, Chief Executive Officer, Genesis BCW.
  • She further shares how we can plan for recovery in this crisis.

With businesses and leaders thrown into a time of unparalleled challenges, we are seeing those who are agile and innovative navigating the storm well. Some, we dare say, might be learning to ride the surf with confidence. Their secret? It’s simple: Creativity.

The COVID-19 crisis has made many companies re-imagine their communications plans. Some plans may have gone out the window altogether. While everyone is adjusting tactics and driving their programmes online, the question is how do you marry all of the communications plan components together in a way that delivers a creative and impactful campaign?

On-point with data-driven insights

There is a wealth of data that can be leveraged during this time. While it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume, it’s critical to tap into trending conversations to gauge consumer sentiment or you risk your communications coming across as tone deaf. To combat this, we need to combine data with human intelligence to derive deep insights into the specific concerns that different stakeholders have. This will play a part in ensuring that creativity goes beyond a tactical level to strike a deeper, emotional chord with your audience.

What should you talk about?

In the cacophony of conversations, how do you decide what is it that you want to be known for? Prioritizing what you want to focus on is important in targeting your outreach and maximizing impact. The simplest way to do this is to see if it aligns with your purpose, comes across as authentic from your brand and is driven by compassion. Today more than ever, your purpose must speak to your target audience. Brands must move from selling to meaningful and creative engagement, and in that process, elevate purpose-led creativity as the compass by which your brand directs all communications.

Employees first

Before any external communications, you will need to focus inward. Making sure that your employees feel equipped to deal with the challenges they face will ensure that their anxiety is addressed, and they will have the mind space to innovate and be creative. The only way to do that is to be transparent and open with them and keep the channels of communications open. Virtual engagement activities, regular check-ins with teams, compassionate communication by leaders, sharing best practices of collaboration and mobilizing the workforce towards the purpose of your brand should all find mention in the employee communications plan.

Get creative in a virtual world

Executing a campaign is perhaps the most difficult part of the communications process at present, given the excessive limitations and logistical challenges that the current situation poses, but that’s where ingenuity comes into play. Virtual product launches and press conferences, the use of virtual reality and other digital technologies, live streaming and webinars, video and animation storytelling and, of course, a slew of social media platforms are being deployed by communicators across industries. Instagram, WhatsApp and Tik Tok are the most popular platforms, with even government authorities and the WHO using them for engaging with large numbers of people.

Some creative examples include our client RED FM’s Care Concert, where they teamed up with T-Series for a virtual concert with Bollywood music artists to raise funds for COVID-19; using videos to demonstrate contactless deliveries, like KFC and other QSRs have done; or organizing an online farewell party for employees moving to a demerged entity—which our client GSK CH hosted for its employees who moved to HUL.

At every level, effective and precise measurement of impact is essential in a situation that is evolving every day. This will help to establish a continuous stream of data and insights to further guide the next steps of the campaign.

Ready for recovery?

Planning for recovery is as important as planning for the crisis. When restrictions begin to relax, we will see a frenzy of activity to make up for lost time, and it likely will be overwhelming. At the same time, all indications are that the resumption of work will be staggered. At every stage, your communications strategy needs to reflect this. It will need to be anchored to the prevailing sentiment, so the process of listening to the conversations, analyzing data, deriving insights and from that the big idea, building a campaign around the big idea and measurement, must continuously mirror what is happening around us. And most critically, it will need to address the apprehensions and misinformation in a transparent and regular manner across employees, partner eco-system, supply chains and customers.

When there is a gale blowing, finding your true north is tough. Now more than ever, you need to rely on your compass. In this case, the compass for communicators is the basic elements of building a purpose-led creative campaign, one with authentic and human goals, insight-driven creativity, strategy, execution and measurement of the impact. Keep your eye on this compass and you will find your way out of this storm intact.

- By Deepshikha Dharmaraj, Chief Executive Officer, Genesis BCW

COVID-19IndiaCases: 820kDeaths: 22.1kRecovered: 515k
COVID-19WorldCases: 12.10MDeaths: 551kRecovered: 6.87M
COVID-19USACases: 3.03MDeaths: 131kRecovered: 983k